Carl Sagan leaves us . . .

James Randi (76702.3507@CompuServe.COM)
20 Dec 96 09:30:10 EST

We've lost Carl Sagan, and I can't quite adjust to the fact.  When Asimov went,
it was bad enough, but now that both these bright lights have gone out, I'm

Up until the end, he was confident, cheery, optimistic.  Despite the ravages of
his illness and the obvious, visible effects of the therapy he was undergoing,
he made every public appearance he could.  He was brave in the face of his
demise, and went like the warrior he was.

I urge you, if you have not yet read "The Demon-Haunted World," his last book,
please do so.  Many months ago, I received a bound galley of that book, with a
cautionary note not to prepare a review based closely upon it, since there were
many planned changes due.  When I eventually received the final version, I noted
many instances where Carl had strengthened his language, upgraded and fortified
his adjectives, and in general harded his language.  I had the chilling thought
that perhaps he felt this might be his last statement about the pseudoscience,
crackpots, frauds, and quacks that he so resented.

I feel his loss acutely.  He had the ability to captivate with his words, spoken
or written.  His students at Cornell worshiped him, and though his colleagues
were often pedantically annoyed at his high public profile and expressed
opinions that he should return to astronomy, he ignored that pressure -- happily
for us -- and continued to be the great teacher of critical thinking that the
world came to know and respect.

A giant has fallen.  We can only celebrate his life and continue to listen to
him through his writings.

(Please excuse the rambling nature of this rather self-indulgent note.  It's
early in the morning, and I'm having a hard time with this matter.)

					James Randi.